My mom tells me that people who cry have big hearts. When we have a loss, the feelings swell up in our hearts, and we cry. Losing a loved is so challenging. Every human being will face loss. My question is: How can we face loss with equanimity? Equanimity means to face a difficult situation with mental calmness and composure. There are different kinds of loss but in this article, I will discuss the loss of a loved one.
We say “hello” to the people and animals in our life, get to know them, and create memories. And then we need to say “good-bye.” It’s an endless cycle of birth and death – like the seasons. This planet is our school. We learn, over time, to have more grace and equanimity in our lives.
One way to create equanimity is to see the world in a different way, have a different perspective. When we understand the nature of impermanence, we know that nothing can last forever. We must instill hope and peace in our hearts to carry on.
I lost a beloved dog a few days ago. It was my brother’s dog, but I took care of it for almost a year. I tried to face this situation with equanimity, but my emotions took over. My definition of equanimity goes beyond having mental calmness. My definition includes having spiritual awareness, mindfulness, and understanding of loss.
Life is so tragic, but we can create equanimity by remembering how much we love our loved ones. Love is timeless and can cross dimensions on an energetic level. The love in our hearts will reach our loved ones.
I would like to share a simple heart meditation. I learned this technique in graduate school. It’s from the HeartMath Institute (www.heartmath.org). You can do this meditation with your eyes open or closed. Also, you can do this meditation anywhere and anyplace. There are only three steps:
Step 1: Bring your awareness to your heart. Place your hand on your chest to feel your heart center. Be aware of the feelings in your heart.
Step 2: Take three deep breaths. As you breathe, feel the air pass by your heart center on each inhalation and exhalation.
Step 3: Think of a special place or person or animal that brings you a lot of joy. Bring that moment into your mind’s eye. Play it in your mind like a movie. Feel the emotions of the moment. Feel the joy and love in your heart.
This simple meditation can help you to connect with your heart and your emotions. I hope this meditation lifted your spirits and brought you calmness and joy.
Here are some equanimity key points, by Rick Hanson, Ph.D., “Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom:”
- Equanimity means not reacting to your reactions, whatever they are.
- Equanimity creates a buffer around the feeling tones of experiences so that you do not react to them with craving. Equanimity is like a circuit breaker that blocks the normal sequence in the mind that moves from feeling tone to craving to clinging to suffering.
- Equanimity is not coldness, indifference, or apathy. You are present in the world but not upset by it. The spaciousness of equanimity is a great support for compassion, kindness, and joy at the happiness of others.
- In daily life and meditation, deepen your equanimity by becoming increasingly mindful of the feeling tones of experience and increasingly disenchanted with them. They come and they go, and they’re not worth chasing or resisting.